Alfonso Soriano strengthens the Yankees, but the addition simply isn't enough.
MLB has approved the trade of Alfonso Soriano to Yankees (& cash changing hands) and Soriano has officially waved no-trade DEAL is OFFICIAL— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) July 26, 2013
Although his right-handed power bat should provide much-needed protection for superstar Robinson Cano, it's arriving too late to salvage the season.
Here are Soriano's offensive stats dating back to 2010:
Across the board, the 37-year-old appears to be a significant upgrade over New York's other potential No. 4 hitters. An anemic combination of Travis Hafner, Lyle Overbay and Vernon Wells has collectively slashed .218/.293/.337 with 11 home runs and a 27.2 strikeout percentage when occupying the cleanup spot.
On the other hand, Soriano comes with plenty of undesirable attributes.
Contrary to recent prolific Yankees offenses, the 2013 edition is reluctant to take pitches and tire out opposing starters. Soriano will only aggravate that problem. So far this season, he's seeing only 3.65 pitches per plate appearance and swinging at the first offering 35 percent of the time compared to the league averages of 3.77 and 28 percent, respectively.
The former All-Star's defensive limitations also make this a strange fit. The Yankees are most desperate for offense at third base and behind the plate, but Soriano hasn't played anywhere except left field over the past six seasons.
With outfielder Curtis Granderson progressing toward a return to the Bronx, according to the New York Daily News, it's going to be difficult for manager Joe Girardi to play all his best bats at the same time.
Above all, this team faces an imposing uphill battle to qualify for the postseason.
Entering Friday, the Boston Red Sox lead New York by six-and-a-half games atop the AL East, and MLB Network's Peter Gammons reports that the Red Sox have scouts "everywhere" as they prepare to bid on available starting pitchers.
The Tampa Bay Rays have a six-game cushion over the Yankees and no apparent weaknesses. Sure, the Baltimore Orioles are within reach for the second AL Wild Card, but their surplus of remaining home games and relatively young roster provide obvious advantages down the stretch.
General manager Brian Cashman did well to grab Soriano, a reputable power source and clubhouse presence who's under contract through 2014.
This move, on its own, doesn't quite have the potential to save the Yankees from a frustrating fate this summer. We'll soon find out whether or not Cashman has more surprises in store as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches.